According to a study I just made up, the week after Christmas is the most depressing time of the year.

All the buildup of goodwill, love and cheer of the holidays are gone. There's nothing on the radar to look forward to, leaving one to stare into the abyss of January and February, the Jupiter Ascending months of the calendar year. (Don't give me any lip about New Year's Eve. That's a night for amateurs who have to convince themselves they're having a good time.)

Luckily, on this dreary, soulless, late December Monday, there is hope.

For, in less than 100 days, amateurs will check into the Crow's Nest, the greatest lodging in golf. Patrons of Augusta National will house pimento cheese sandwiches watching pros skip their practice shots across the pond at No. 16.

In less than 100 days, Jordan Spieth will dish out Texas barbecue at the Champions Dinner, while Rory McIlroy practices on the putting green below, hoping to complete the career Grand Slam. Caddies will have Wednesday off as players' wives and children man the bag during the Par-3 Tournament.

In less than 100 days, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Palmer will hit honorary tee shots down the Tea Olive fairway. McIlroy and Jason Day and Bubba Watson will drive it to places that would make Alister MacKenzie faint. Tom Watson will wave goodbye.

In less than 100 days, television screens will illuminate shots of Magnolia Lane and Amen Corner, with our friend Jim Nantz welcoming us to a tradition like no other.

Yes, Christmas is over. But with Masters week less than 100 days away, the holidays are far from done. They're just beginning.


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